Play the Great Name Game!

Earlier this year, as my wife became increasingly pregnant, everyone around us became increasingly expectant that we would announce a name for our son, yet to be born. This was supposed to be a collaborative effort between us, but the way it worked out is that I would propose names and Nita would dispose of those options. In this sense I was responsible for the divergent mental process and she for the convergent.

One weekend while on the road I opened up a Google spreadsheet and began entering different options that came to mind. On the iPad I had the Gundecha Brothers chanting a shiva stuti, which no doubt helped with the process. We gave each name points separately, added them up, sorted the sheet and that’s how Adianta came to be named.

I’m faced with a somewhat less daunting challenge this month, when our new School for Innovation and Leadership remains to be named. There is a similar clot in the air, when all of us who are involved in giving birth to this new entity want to begin announcing it to the world, but cannot, because… we don’t know how to call it. If you’re reading this, you’re invited to the Great Name Game, which might just give you a special status and an authoritative relationship to the future entity.
I’ll lay out some of the prior thinking around what we think would be a good name, and then I’ll share a spreadsheet document with different people’s suggestions as well as some internal grading as the process moves forward.

We’re not feeling that a Sanskritic name is especially suited to this entity. For one thing, we have enough other activities and entities in the pipeline that are named in that way. For another, this seems to have something to do with a future which is more hybrid and culturally-fused than originary and autochthonous within India.

We recognize also that we’re going be the beneficiaries of a truly global network of different institutions and individuals who will be giving their time, their accumulated experiences and knowledge, and their own cultural sensibilities to this entity. I have in mind particularly people and institutions from Finland, Holland, and the UK. If one draws a line between these regions of the world one begins to think of Viking, Norse, Danish and Middle and Old English vocabularies.

The slogan, motto or tag-line for the school appears to be ‘Innovate, Build, Lead.’ If there is an underlying sensibility behind the approach to innovation we hope to advocate and embody, it would seem to have to do with risk-taking, collaboration and inclusiveness.

So that’s the brief. Send us your suggestions any way you now how, commenting wherever you read this or emailing me directly. If the name you propose sticks you will forever be honored in the school’s future lore and collective memory!

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